Latha, Community Video Reporter for VELUGU:

“People in our villages only ever talk about the crops or the weather or they complain about the government. They never talk about the real problems we face at home, like child marriage, or alcoholism or domestic abuse. I’m speaking out about these things in my videos. I want to show people how we can change.”

Richard Brannan, Chairman, Northern Arapaho Business Council (WY, USA):

“After working with Video Volunteers, I see incredible scope for the Community Video Unit here on our Reservation. I’d like Methamphetamine addicts to make videos on the dangers of Meth addiction, or Native kids to share video stories with non-Native kids as a way to overcome the racial tension here. There is a serious lack of participation in our local government, and video could connect those of us in authority with the opinions and wishes of those who never attend meetings and have never had a voice.”

Albert Maysles, Academy Award-nominated Filmmaker and Video Volunteers Board Member:

“Video Volunteers enriches the lives of poor people by giving them the gift of self-expression. By telling their own stories they can bring their hardships to the attention of people in power. More importantly, they earn a self-respect that money cannot buy. I serve on the Board of Video Volunteers because I believe there are certain things these non-literate filmmakers can do with video better than I ever could. There is a truthfulness that comes when people tell their own stories rather than having their stories told by others. And these are stories the world needs to hear.”

Sejal Dand, Director, ANANDI:

“Now that our staff has been trained according to the Video Volunteers model, for the cost of making one video, we are able to produce our own videos for years to come.”

Shabana, Video Activist at ANANDI:

“At home I have to wear a burkha after seven PM. So I am proud of myself for making videos. Where I live people thought only men can use cameras—so they are very surprised to see me making videos! I’m going to use this tool to help my organization. I also want to tell stories about domestic violence, and what happened to Muslim people like me during the riots.”

Fr. K.A. Thomas, Director, I-CARD:

“The whole process of making the film with the volunteer filmmakers was beneficial, not just the finished product. Conducting the interviews and hearing the community define their problems was a learning process for both staff and community. Jessica opened our minds to issues we needed to pay attention to, and to which we ourselves were blind. This was the first time a film was made about the Mising community and knowing a film has been made about them has given an enormous boost to their self-confidence. They’ve always thought of themselves as a very isolated tribe in Assam, but now they know I will bring their story around the world with me.”

Martin Macwan, Director, Navsarjan Trust:

“The staff members from our organization that were trained were all Dalits. By giving video training to the people in the lowest rung of society we are breaking all the myths that exist in one stroke. We are demystifying technology. We are proving that technology and information must not, and need not, be owned and controlled by the very few. We are breaking the rigidity of the social structure. Video is giving us power.”

Marsha Mason, Jamaican Environmental Activist with RARE Pride:

“Before the Video Volunteers training I thought that video was just documentary films. Now I see that it is a powerful and cost-effective tool that can strengthen all aspects of my educational campaigns.”

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